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After a number of bidding problems I thought we might consider some defensive situations this week. Try the following defence as East you hold
the bidding from the opposition has gone
1h -1nt -3d-3h -4h
Partner leads the SQ and dummy is
Declarer ruffs the second round of spades and continues with a diamond to the ace and a second diamond from dummy ?
The fate of the contract hinges on your next play if you ruff with a "useless" trump the contract cannot be defeated whereas if you discard it cannot be made. Declarer has
The ruff gains nothing for the defence since the diamond is a loser anyway and in fact aids declarer since it gives him trump control .If you ruff declarer can now draw trumps and ruff his 4th diamond in dummy and score up the game for the loss of one diamond ,one club and one spade discard on the second diamond and the defence must score either a second diamond or an overruff with the H9 to set the contract.
Now on our second deal we look at promotion of trump tricks
South opens 3s and all pass you hold
Say you decide to attack with HA ( as an aside following a weak 2 or 3 an attacking lead is sound since any extraneous strength will lie with dummy or partner normally )
you win the HA and continue the suit and partner wins the Q with declarer following .He continues hearts and declarer ruffs with the queen ? If you overruff with the King the CA in partner's hand will be the last trick for the defence. Although you cannot be certain that a trump is capable of promotion it is correct on general principles to discard here rather than over ruff since nothing can be gained by so doing .
The other hands are
When you discard declarer continues with SA SJ which you win and put partner in with CA and a further heart will promote your S8 for the setting trick .
Two more interesting bidding hands from the Spring Fours.
you hear a weak 2s on your right so overcall 3h 3s to your left and partner bids 4d which is natural and forcing.
An important thing to do during the bidding is to re-evaluate and here your hand has improved considerably with 3 card support for a 6 card suit opposite and first round spade control so you bid 4s and partner bids roman key card blackwood you decide to show 1 key card but not your void which you could show by bidding 6c and partner bids 5s.
Your method here is 5nt asks for specific kings and 5h for the DQ so 5s is a general grand slam try so still liking your hand you decline to sign off in 6d and instead bid 6c and he bids 7d -do you feel constrained to do anything ?
I should have corrected to 7h here as partner held
but partner played the non pre emptor for the DQ ( percentage play ) so finessed the Knave to make the contract. They were in the cold 7nt in the other room after no weak 2s from team mates which brought some comment from partner and myself.
the bidding goes 1d from partner -pass -1s (2h) pass (3h) your hand has potential but is awkward to describe since you would like to show spades and also diamond support. You play a convention called the support double so partner's pass over 2h denies 3 card spade support.
On complex hands of this nature double is the best choice which is for take out when the opposition have shown a fit. Partner responds 4d showing 5 or 6 cards so again your hand has improved so can now bid 4h (cue bid) rather than 5d and you will reach the thin but superb 6d facing
spades can be established to discard club losers to secure 12 tricks.
These two examples show hands which improve dramatically as the bidding progresses and it is essential to re evaluate your hand as the bidding develops.
For the next couple of weeks I thought I would provide some interesting bidding hands which came up during the Spring Fours weekend.
On the first deal you pick up a big hand
you open 2c and partner responds 2s ( 8 + with at least 2 honours to 5 ) 3c -3s -4c -5c are the next bids. So now how do you like your hand? do you pass or raise to 6c? To me things do not look ideal so in my typically conservative style I would pass but if you raise to 6c partner tables
I can tell you there was a trump loser so you may think you are off unless you receive a diamond lead and you also need the hearts to break 3-3 or the jack to drop. In fact you can make on a heart lead by playing 2 top trumps and continuing with 3 rounds of hearts (they are 3-3) now exit with a trump and the defence must return a diamond and low and behold the DQ holds for your 12th trick.
Our second hand was an interesting test of judgement and method
South deals and opens 1c -1s -2s ( far better than rebidding 2c ) now what? The hand is a perfect fit with 6s excellent and cold. North with a control rich hand and a 5th spade should not just bid 4s and the choices are 3c or 3h or a jump to the 4 level if you play cue bids rather than splinters. I like 3c since partner now has an opportunity to make a critical bid which would be 4h to show a singleton now the north hand will drive to the good slam.
Good bidding requires the essential ability to visualise how the hands fit and then to count the winners and losers. Certain aids assist the evaluation process namely Roman Key Card Blackwood, Jacoby 2nt, fourth suit forcing and splinter or cue bids. I will provide two example hands.
First a well bid hand from a league match last week where both pairs reached the top spot
at one table a precision club is opened by partner who subsequently shows clubs so now the responding hand is enormous and just requires a knowledge of the presence of all the key cards to be able to bid 7c (partner had denied 3 card spade support in the bidding so xxx in the suit was not possible) you ascertain that this is the case and duly bid 7c. Partner has:
My teammates had a natural bidding sequence to the same contract.
Next a more difficult bidding problem
This is another cold grand slam in either hearts or clubs and illustrates a very difficult hand type where you hold 2 running suits plus first round controls in both side suits.
At most tables the bidding began 3s on the left and North bid clubs and now depending on whether east raised, South had a tough decision. 4h was the popular choice where East passed which ended matters. Where East bid 4s this was in fact a help since it increased the likelihood that partner had short spades and at a few tables allowed south to bid a small slam. Sometimes bidding by the opposition helps the assessment and visualisation process.
Weeks 2 and 1